Girl Guides gives campfire tunes the School of Rock treatment

Songs like "Down by the Bay" get a girl-power reboot heading into registration season.


Girl Guides is reimagining traditional campfire songs as anthems to empower young girls and drive new registrants.

The first track from the organization’s “Fire Songs” campaign is “Girls Let’s Go,” a twist on “Bingo,” which comes to life in a concert-inspired video (see, below).

A music video for “We Come to Play,” (based on “Down by the Bay”) will be released this week, in addition to a new track “The Girls on the Bus” (based on “Wheels on the Bus”). The popular favorites have been repurposed to address themes like equality and inclusion, assertiveness and individuality.

There’s also 15-second versions of the videos for TV, and digital extensions like GIFs and posters will also available in the coming weeks. All tracks will also be available on Spotify, YouTube and on the Girl Guides website.

“Campfire songs have always brought Girl Guides together,” says Jill Zelmanovits, CEO at Girl Guides of Canada. “Plus, as we learned even more during COVID, our girl member are savvy creators of digital and musical content themselves.

That also made social and digital was a natural fit for this type of socially shareable creative, as well as allowing for redirections to its website for parents to learn more about the program and enroll.

Zelmanovits tells strategy the focus of the campaign is about how to show the magic that happens when girls get together, and the feeling you get when you have a sense of connection and belonging.

According to Zelmanovits, this time of year is a big time for new member registration, and Girl Guides is focusing on reaching parents and caregivers with girls aged five to eight to join the organization’s Sparks or Brownies programs.

As a not-for-profit, she says Girl Guides invests a modest amount in paid media as part of its recruiting efforts to ensure girls in Canada can experience the pro-girl environment, connections and fun of Guiding.

Last year, lockdowns presented a big challenge to the organization’s famous Girl Guides cookies fundraiser, and with selling door-to-door and outside stores out of the question, the non-profit made the decision to suspend its annual cookie fundraiser. 

Zelmanovits says it was fortunate to be able to pivot cookie selling for Spring 2020 thanks to important retail partners like Sobeys, Canadian Tire, Loblaws and London Drugs agreeing to stock the items.

Zulu Alpha Kilo created and led the “Fire Songs” campaign, securing director Emma Higgins, Juno winner for Jessie Reyez’ “No One’s in the Room,” to create the music videos.

Music and audio was done by SNDWRx, OMD supported with media, and spPR Inc. executed PR.